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How Louis Theroux Became a ‘Jiggle Jiggle’ Sensation at Age 52

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4 or five times per week nowadays, some old friend will contact Louis Theroux and tell him, “My daughter keeps going across the house singing your rap,” or, “My wife was exercising to your rap in her Pilates class.” Passing by a primary school, Mr. Theroux has the sensation he’s being watched, a way confirmed when he hears a child call out behind him: “My money don’t jiggle jiggle.”

His agent has been fielding dozens of requests for private appearances and invitations to perform. Mr. Theroux, a 52-year-old British American documentary filmmaker with a bookish, somewhat anxious demeanor, has turned all of them down, not least because, as he put it in a video interview from his London home, “I’m not attempting to make it as a rapper.”

But in a way, he already has: Mr. Theroux is the person behind “Jiggle Jiggle,” a sensation on TikTok and YouTube, where it has been streamed a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of times. He delivers the rap in an understated voice that bears traces of his Oxford education, giving an amusing lilt to the lines “My money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds/I’d wish to see you wiggle, wiggle, needless to say.”

For Mr. Theroux, a son of the American writer Paul Theroux and a cousin of the actor Justin Theroux, the entire episode has been odd and slightly unsettling. “I’m pleased that folks are having fun with the rap,” he said. “At the identical time, there’s a component of me that has a level of mixed feelings. It’s a bittersweet thing to experience a breakthrough moment of virality through something that, on the face of it, seems so disposable and so out of keeping with what it’s that I actually do in my work. But there we’re.”

The story of how this middle-aged father of three has taken hold of youth culture with a novelty rap is “a baffling twenty first century example of just the weirdness of the world that we live in,” Mr. Theroux said.

“Jiggle Jiggle” gestated for years before it became all the fad. It began in 2000, when Mr. Theroux was hosting “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends,” a BBC Two series through which he delved into various subcultures. For an episode within the third and final season, he traveled to the American South, where he met quite a few rappers, including Master P. As a part of the show, he decided to do a rap himself, but he had only a number of meager lines: “Jiggle Jiggle/I adore it once you wiggle/It makes me need to dribble/Fancy a fiddle?”

He enlisted Reese & Bigalow, a rap duo in Jackson, Miss., to assist him work it into shape. Bigalow cleaned up the opening lines and linked the word “jiggle” with the word “jingle” to suggest the sound of coins in your pocket. Reese asked him what type of automotive he drove. His reply — Fiat Tipo — led to the lines, “Riding in my Fiat/You actually must see it/Six-feet-two in a compact/No slack but luckily the seats return.”

“Reese & Bigalow infused the rap with a real quality,” Mr. Theroux said. “The weather that make it special, I could never have written alone. At the chance of overanalyzing it, the genius a part of it, in my mind, was saying, ‘My money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds.’ There was something very satisfying concerning the cadence of those words.”

He filmed himself performing the song continue to exist the Recent Orleans hip-hop station Q93, and BBC viewers witnessed his rap debut when the episode aired in the autumn of 2000. That might need been the tip of “Jiggle Jiggle” — but “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends” got latest life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the show and commenced streaming it on Netflix UK. The rap episode became a favourite, and every time Mr. Theroux made the publicity rounds for a latest project, interviewers would inevitably ask him about his hip-hop foray.

In February of this 12 months, while promoting a latest show, “Louis Theroux’s Forbidden America,” Mr. Theroux sat down for an interview on the favored web talk show “Chicken Shop Date,” hosted by the London comedian Amelia Dimoldenberg.

“Are you able to remember any of the rap that you just did?” Ms. Dimoldenberg asked, prompting Mr. Theroux to launch into his rhymes in what he described as “my barely po-faced and dry English delivery.”

“What happened subsequently is probably the most mystifying part,” he added.

Luke Conibear and Isaac McKelvey, a pair of DJ-producers in Manchester, England, generally known as Duke & Jones, plucked the audio from “Chicken Shop Date” and set it to a backing track with an easygoing beat. Then they uploaded the song to their YouTube account, where it has 12 million views and counting.

But “Jiggle Jiggle” became a phenomenon thanks largely to Jess Qualter and Brooke Blewitt, 21-year-old graduates of Laine Theater Arts, a performing arts college in Surrey, England. In April, the 2 friends were making pasta at their shared apartment after they heard the song and unexpectedly choreographed moves suited to the track — dribbling a basketball, turning a steering wheel — and the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance was born.

Wearing hooded sweatshirts and shades (an outfit chosen because they weren’t wearing makeup, the ladies said in an interview), Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt made a 27-second video of themselves performing the routine. It blew up shortly after Ms. Qualter posted it on TikTok. Copycat videos soon sprang up from TikTok users world wide.

“This was all happening without me knowing about it,” Mr. Theroux said. “I got an email: ‘Hey, a remix of the rap you probably did on “Chicken Shop Date” goes viral and doing extraordinary things on TikTok.’ I’m, like, ‘Well, that’s funny and peculiar.’”

It burst out of TikTok and into the mainstream last month, when Shakira performed the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion and Rita Ora have all posted themselves dancing to it. The forged of Downton Abbey jiggle-jiggled during a red carpet event.

“Anthony Hopkins has just done a thing yesterday,” Mr. Theroux said. “It could be an excessive amount of to call it a dance. It’s more of a twitch. But he’s doing something.”

The entire episode has been strange for his three children, especially his 14-year-old son, who’s big into TikTok. “‘Why is my dad, probably the most cringe guy within the universe, all over the place on TikTok?’” Mr. Theroux said, giving voice to his son’s response.

“I’ve left my stank throughout his timeline,” he continued. “I feel it’s made him very confused and barely resentful.”

Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt find it equally surreal to see Shakira and others dancing to their moves. “I almost forget that we made that up,” Ms. Qualter said. “It doesn’t feel prefer it’s happened. It’s got over 60 million views. We see the number on the screen, but I can’t comprehend that there are people behind it.”

After the unique Duke & Jones remix went viral — that’s, the one with the vocal track taken from “Chicken Shop Date” — the DJ-producer duo asked Mr. Theroux to redo his vocal in a recording studio. That way, as a substitute of being just one other TikTok ear-worm, “Jiggle Jiggle” may very well be made available on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms, and its makers could gain some exposure and cash in on it.

Along with Mr. Theroux, five composers are credited on the official release: Duke & Jones; Reese & Bigalow; and the 81-year-old hitmaker Neil Diamond. Mr. Diamond became a part of the crew when his representatives signed off on “Jiggle Jiggle,” which echoes his 1967 song “Red Red Wine” within the part where Mr. Theroux’s Auto-tuned voice sings the words “red, red wine.” The song hit the Spotify viral charts globally last month.

So does this mean real money?

“I sincerely hope we will all make some jiggle jiggle out of the phenomenon. Or perhaps some fold,” Mr. Theroux said. “To this point, it’s been more on the jiggle end.”

In his profession as a documentary filmmaker, Mr. Theroux has explored the worlds of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing militia groups, and opioid addicts. In his latest BBC series, “Forbidden America,” Mr. Theroux examines the results of social media on the entertainment industry and politics. Years before Netflix had successful show centered on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is healthier generally known as the Tiger King, Mr. Theroux made a movie about him. The American documentarian John Wilson, the creator and star of HBO’s “How To With John Wilson,” has cited him as an influence.

Now his body of labor has been eclipsed, a minimum of temporarily, by “Jiggle Jiggle.” And like many who go viral, Mr. Theroux finds himself trying to know what just happened and determine what he’s purported to do with this newfound cultural capital.

“It’s not like I actually have a catalog and, like, now I can release all of my other novelty rap fragments,” he said. “I’m clearly not going to tour it. ‘Come see Mr. Jiggle himself.’ It could be a 20-second-long gig.”

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